Unknown disaster: a fire at the K-19

On some terrible events that took place on the first nuclear submarine K-19, the world vyznat due to play in a Hollywood film under the sonorous title of "K-19, leaving a widow" (in the Russian box office film was called simply "K-19"). This picture with Harrison Ford starring spared virtually all cinema halls of the planet, and yet the real story is very different from the Western version of directors. Only a small portion shown in the movie happened in the submarine cruiser in fact.

It is no exaggeration to say that the boat K-19 was fighting its own way has a razor's edge. Due to the fact that the submarine a couple of times actually put the world to the brink of nuclear disaster, he was soft-spoken nickname "Hiroshima". To understand the origins of all the events that resulted in the worst tragedy in the K-19 of 1972, is back on many years ago, the birth of the ship.

Unknown tragedy: a fire at the K-19

In the middle years of the 50th Russian government adopted a decision on the necessity of creation of the first nuclear submarine. A submarine with nuclear missiles on board was to play a decisive role in the argument of the "cold" confrontation between with 2 political worlds. Because of the significance of the main intended purpose of the creation of the K-19 have been thrown all the ability and the means of defense companies also design offices of the country. In the same period in 1958, the year the United States was founded by a special office, whose task was to build U.S. nuclear submarine "George Washington". Director of the Bureau made was endowed with unlimited potential at his disposal were the economic ability of virtually all of the Western world. So Makar, the starting positions of competitors were approximately equal.

October 17, 1958-year days are considered to be the beginning of work on the creation of the first nuclear submarine in the Soviet Union. Engineers are in a hurry, you had certainly overtake the damned Yankees. Involved in the project designers and shipbuilders working round the day, days of the expense of going to, and sometimes on the clock. Witnesses said that the construction took place in three shifts, in other words, the process was virtually continuous. Each shift specifically engaged in the construction of more than 3 thousand man. So hasty act, of course, not forced myself to expect. The boat, which was built in Severodvinsk misery chased already on the stocks. During the coloring holds a fire broke out in which two people died.

After the resumption of painting works choked a female painter. And when the keel K-19 for the first time touched the water, it is usually broken on board the newly launched on the ship with a bottle of champagne was left intact, that the sailors considered a bad omen. When it was filled with water Dock camera, then Submarine just came out because the staff forgot to mount that kept the ship on the trigger cart.

And then it was just awful. When you run the reactor chamber pressure above normal in half, and a miracle no one got a lethal dose of radiation. In addition, the designers have failed to remove the original slope of one degree, which appear when the boat. As a result, when the ship first time it took to limit the depth of his banked at 40 degrees. Urgent ascent of K-19, which was held in the emergency mode in just 10 seconds, could have resulted in to located near collision with vessels participating in the trial submarine.

After the incident, many wondered belated question: was it worth the rush? Maybe it would be even wiser to first remove all the imperfections on the paper, carefully calculate the characteristics, and only then start to implement them in the metal? But the government, which is perfectly understood the essence of the emerging problems, delayed the achievement of high quality advantages for the future, preferring terms. In fairness it should be noted that some designers have also considered a method of trial and error more applicable when it was part of the development of new generations of ships. They believed that everything is unrealistic to predict without using the hands-on ability and not spending real tests.

December 30, 1959 when the first nuclear-powered submarine, the "George Washington" became a member of the Navy United States, on board was established sixteen missiles that could start out of the water and hit a target at a distance of two thousand miles. With all of this power of the nuclear charge of each missile was roughly equivalent to five bombs dropped on Hiroshima earlier. On the same day in the USSR at the K-19 have already passed the preparatory work for the vessel to the test. On the Russian missile carrier was found only three missiles, and their range was only 650 km, in other words three times less than American counterparts. With all this firing submarine could only lead of the surface position. In the face of fierce warfare 2-powers a position to put it mildly, not amused control of the USSR. In the summer of 1960, the "George Washington" was ready to, to target those on board the rocket on sixteen large military and industrial centers located in our area. And the act of acceptance Russian submarine was signed only three months later.

Not many people know that date, which we consider days of Astronautics, could become the first days of great underwater catastrophe of global proportions. April 12, 1961-the year in the Barents Sea area K-19 failed at the last moment to avoid a collision with an American submarine "Nautilus", which carried out reconnaissance patrols off the coast of the Soviet Union. Submit themselves to the likely consequences of an imminent collision and the next explosion was easy everyone who knew about the threat of being on both cargo ships. But no sooner had the crew come to his senses, and K-19 presented a new nasty surprise — turned sharply to the depth, hitting the bottom of the nose, which, fortunately, in this place was covered with a thick layer of silt multimeter.

Crashes on the day was avoided, but the summer of 1961-the year in their own distant expedition to the Arctic in the K-19 took the first big disaster, about which the world vyznat only decades later. In military exercises by the bitter drama submarine was to portray the enemy ship "George Washington". At this time, the first missile submarine reactor failure occurred. The team made unenforceable — without having special knowledge and respective equipment, boat people rescued from death. But for this kind of crew members had to sacrifice their lives going into the infected cell radiation. But the brave sailors knew that saving the boat, rescue the world from a catastrophe, since the death of K-19 would lead to the ocean waters of infection. When the final disadvantaged population of the earth would get sad experience of the Chernobyl tragedy in half a century earlier and in the wider global scale. In addition, the explosion on the submarine, which was located near the NATO military base, fully could be the first step to a third world war.

Later, when President Khrushchev considered representations sailors working time in the reactor compartment, to the awards with the rank of Hero of the Soviet Union, he flew into a rage and cynically imposed following resolution: "For the tragedy reward!" And yet by the day or have died in terrible agony submariners Boris Korchilov, Yuri Ordochkin, Eugene Koshenkov, Simon Pen'kov, Nicholas SAVKIN, Valery Kharitonov, Yuri and Boris Povsten Rizhikov. Their awards bestowed posthumously, but with all this control of the co
untry has made every effort so that no one vyznat about the tragedy. Long time not enough who has information about the true cause of rewarding brave sailors.

The commander of the submarine, which managed the first on the scene of the tragedy, K-19, became an involuntary witness the funeral of Boris Ryzhykova. To his question about why Chief Petty was killed, he was told that Boris just destroyed shock ….

A little known and explored by evidence that in the same 1961st the crew of K-19 re-rescued ship. After the tragedy of the first reactor, the municipal commission, headed by Academician Alexandrov, decided to scuttle the submarine, giving up its repair and restoration. But the crew decided to independently carry out emergency decontamination of the reactor compartment and unload warhead. And those who had to prepare for the destruction of the ship, almost a centimeter painstakingly washed his hands virtually naked, to give all that significant radiation dose. High officials had known about the actions of the crew, but they are taciturn, through the fingers followed the actual suicidal people and their zeal to break the sinking of the submarine within the "top" time. And the sailors just felt on to the burden of responsibility and understand that they can not throw the ship after their friends and co-workers have given their lives for the salvation of the ship.

When the submarine washed, twelve volunteers led K-19 for repairs. Here again, the unexpected happened. Already on the way to Severodvinsk boat ran aground. Fuel completed, generators braked, missing lighting and heat, and quite soon there was food. Then again people had to help out. In the process of repair of the reactor compartment K-19 have changed, and the little old was sunk off the coast newest Earth. Submarine modernized and provided a new missile system. Now the craft could carry fire from a submerged position. Zahav secrecy surrounding the vessel was so dense that even a newcomer crew did not have a prior understanding of their ship disaster. No one in the country did not have to know about what costs us the price of the competition with a political opponent.

In 1965, K-19, which is more than a month spent on active service, to perform all the tasks in front of the crew. And in the 1967th boat even get a prize from the Commander in Chief of the Navy for their achievements in the missile firing, becoming the best ship of the Northern Fleet. Dedicated to all the lurking higher management began to feel that the submarine disaster is the worst behind and passed. But after two years of K-19 once again become a prerequisite for almost started World War II.

Happy November 15, 1969 th boat was on the implementation of a training assignment in the Barents Sea, where the motion at a depth at low speed at seven o'clock in the morning the crew felt the blow of strongest in the bow. The ship began to sink quickly into the depths. The commander of the submarine managed to raise the vessel, which was later found out already, collided with an American submarine «Gato», conducting reconnaissance at Russian coast. By misfortune strike came just at the part of the ship, where the reactor. At the time of the collision commander of a torpedo compartment in the South American ship decided that Russian boat purposefully went to the ram, and gave the order to attack response — prepare to fire 3 torpedoes and missiles with nuclear warheads. And after a nuclear explosion nearby bases of the Northern Fleet could be fully seen as the first step of the attack on the Soviet Union. But the South American captain, to orient, canceled orders to attack, being able to prevent a terrible disaster.

But that was not the end of a sad biography of the boat. Three years later, on 24 February 1972 at 10 hours and 15 minutes watch the ninth compartment, finding a smoke fan, asked the watchkeeping engineer permission to start ventilation. The smallness of time later there was reported a fire, and from the premises of the compartment were heard clicks, coughs and knock on the bulkhead. After two minutes enveloped in connection with the fire compartment broke. It should be noted that the fire had started under the water resembles something a big bang, and actually caught light compartment instantaneously transformed into a fiery furnace. All crew members were aware of what accounts for the remaining people in the compartment, but according to the rules they could not open the hatch transition and assist their colleagues. To prevent the spread of fire compartment had to be sealed, so all the others got a chance at salvation.

Despite the measures taken, fire and carbon monoxide could rapidly spread through the ship, the death toll began to rise. Then the commander of the submarine captain 1st rank Kulibaba gave the order for an immediate ascent. On the ascent took 30 minutes. By statute, the commander was supposed to report "up" to infringement stealth warship. After half an hour after the report of the heads of the tragedy have already learned members of management of the country and the party. In order was identified privacy mode data on the situation in the vessel only once a day, for emergency assistance submarine send eight vessels.

But divers could not expect they needed to fight for survival of the boat, hit from the fire in the torpedo room could lead to an explosion of strongest and radiation leaks. The captain decided to shut down the reactor to avoid disaster. The situation is complicated by the fact that in the ascent of K-19 at that time was raging gale. A stopped boat be covered wave of water flooded the emergency diesel, which could not manage to run. It was not possible to restore lighting and ventilation began. Meanwhile, the eighth and ninth sections continued to blaze.
On the second day of the disaster in 2 hours and 40 minutes in the Danish Straits to the ship approached the tanker "Liepaja." Samples were taken to a tow-19 ended in failure due to the ongoing severe storm which is not allowed to approach the submarine at a sufficient distance. By this time Kulibaba for the first time told his superiors about the victims of the tragedy, the number of which have gained almost 20 5 people. The fate of the fifteen sailors was unknown. At that moment, when everything is resigned to the idea that in the fifth compartment could not remain living people, in 2 hours 55 minutes rang the ship's phone that sailors humorously called "the miracle of 1916." This is a good means of communication was the indisputable advantages as a result of the tragedy, for work even when the power on the ship, holding to the same superior strength. Called the survivors of the tenth compartment. How will speak later, submariners, they managed to use the personal breathing apparatus SP-60. There were only four. When you check one of the oxygen tanks in the compartment was empty, and one of the masks — because of leaky oversight staff. To prevent poisoning comes from the adjoining compartment with carbon monoxide, the Mariners had to share with the oxygen of the masks.

Unknown tragedy: a fire at the K-19

Receiving the message, the rest of the crew attempted to free survivors. They needed to overcome two (eighth and ninth) burnt compartments. But after the opening of the bulkhead in the ninth compartment emergency oxygen entered, resulting in even stronger fire broke out. When the rescue attempt ended in failure, and the crew realized that as long as people do not take out, the question arose as to ease their plight. The volume of feed compartment was not greater than 140
cubic meters, but half of that space occupied equipment. Air volume was low and the hour is rapidly decreasing. It was necessary to apply the oxygen in the compartment with the people. And here reminded of the pipe through which water is pumped to the feed tank. This pipeline has survived, and so it became a real salvation for cut off from the rest of the crew of people. Let oxygen through the pipe, which greatly improved the situation. Now the lives of people threatened to causes such as hunger, thirst, and in particular the cold. After all, the boat was in the North Atlantic, and the cold was only four degrees of heat.

In the tenth compartment was a fresh water tank, but by someone else's negligence, it was empty. But the sailors knew that in these tanks is always kept "dead stock" of the water volume of 100-150 l .. The quality of the water, stood for a long time in a closed container, it was at that point does not matter, because the question was about life and death. On the palate, as told themselves "hermits", she was vile and, most likely, rusted, but in the dark it was not visible. Available in the compartment lights had already developed their own resource. Drawing water through the broken glass instrumentation, people poured it into a bottle and heated under a quilted jacket, saving every sip. On examination, the entire room sailors also found a four packs of sugar, two cans of condensed milk, canned cabbage that assist to sustain a certain period of time. And in the bay was a huge amount of salt that rescued sailors from hypothermia.

On the fourth day of captivity, February 27, in the tragedy of the K-19 was already seven Russian ships, one of which was a rescue. But take a test submarine in tow as before did not work out, the storm does not stop, and the wave height was twelve or fourteen feet. The death toll has risen to 20, eight people, and the condition of the people in the tenth compartment was almost critical. Another attempt to free them ended like the previous recent outbreak of fire. Meanwhile, when the storm weakened a little grip, the court could come up to the boat and take her in tow. But it appeared brand new problem — the ropes were cut off, as rescue ships started towing.

On the fifth day of captivity of the crew on the submarine aircraft took off about four submarines few dozen containers with a life estate and food. Seafarers rescue vessels have tried four times to take a K-19 in tow, but the ropes as before exploding. On the sixth day of the crew were transferred to emergency battery, portable radio and flashlights. Conjunction with the tenth compartment was not, and in the supply of the freshest air to isolated people there failed, further exacerbated the atmospheric conditions in the room. Of pieces of woolen blankets trapped there people were making filters, so as not to get poisoned, but even the air itself had to save. Everyone who was not engaged in business, tried to lie to consume less oxygen. One sailor is constantly on duty near the bulkhead, pouring its sea water to lower the temperature. But with all this water is rapidly evaporated, and the compartment was getting stuffy in the steam room.

Unknown tragedy: a fire at the K-19

On the seventh day, with the help of rescue rope with the submarine managed to take the first twelve-man crew and the boat to pass hot tea and food. March 3, on the ninth day, came the big anti-submarine ship "Vice-Admiral Drozd." In the criteria vosmiballnogo storm, despite the prohibitions and regulations, with its swinging deck up the helicopter. First attempt to pick up the crew of the boat and put the emergency command failed, but in the next day or two, when the storm had subsided, with a helicopter and rescue ships managed to take another sixty two people.

By March 5 at the K-19 remained 30 one person, twelve of which were in the ill-fated tenth compartment. The sea was raging again, and the slope of the emergency boat periodically reached sixty degrees. Samples take a submarine in tow were hopeless, and people from the deck of the submarine simply swept away by strong waves overboard. So due to a broken belay all killed two more people.

Which ended the second week of confinement, March 7 at the cut compartment managed to serve low-voltage lighting, but it is not very CONTRIBUTE based there for people who lost all hope of staying alive. After a day or two the weather was better, the remaining crew managed to start the emergency diesel, and they began venting compartments. But on March 12 came to transfer to the ship emergency teams who were prepared to rescue the prisoners of the tenth compartment. By this point in the area of the tragedy came cruiser "Leningrad" and the U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat. In the sky, at times flying NATO planes.

Only on the third day of 20 to the command post of the Navy in Moscow came a report that the personnel of 18.58 was taken out of the tenth compartment and delivered to the mother ship, "Hajiyev." So as not to be blinded after a long stay in the dark, all the Mariners were blindfolded. Many had to be carried on the hands, because the people were quite exhausted. On the eighteenth day of the Russian rescue ship "Beshtay", in the end, managed to take the K-19 in tow. Towing of the vessel at a speed of 6 km per hour.

More than 3 weeks, the crew of K-19 fought for the ship. But the main thing — they do not prevent the spread of fire in the torpedo room and warned radiation leakage. After inspecting the boat, it became clear that it is burnt three compartments. Despite the acts of naval commission prepared to write off the ship, again, there were those who defended the boat. There was a major overhaul of the unlucky ship, again set a new, more advanced equipment. After only 5 months of submarine again went on alert. Again, the reason for the destruction of the country many of the Atomic submarine lurking remained covered, and all the incidents of the tragedy were strictly classified.

One of those who got fame from occurring in connection with the tragedy of the 1972 events, became vice-admiral Sorokin, who received the Star of the Hero and the increase in office. Becoming the commander of the fleet, which came and K-19, he gave the order to demolish the set after the first monument to the tragedy, the victims of the submarine sailors. He explained to own a step that a similar structure negatively affects the morale of the people.

Right up to the last day or K-19 sailors did not leave alone. In November 1978, the year it was back to the fire, it happened in August, 1982. Later, it was the training torpedo hit and the boat was holed and almost sank. Yet, for unknown reasons, submarines have always been influential patron. Considering the K-19 the first vessel of this type, the founder of the nuclear submarine fleet, 40 years old, they returned again and again in her system. In August 2003, the fleet command again tried to save K-19 from destruction, but someone "above" the idea of keeping this ship disaster struck Straseni. The decision on the disposal of the first missile submarine remained in force.
During its existence the submarine more than 20 thousand running hours was approximately 560 thousand km, 6 times out on combat duty, the total duration of which was 310 days. On board the K-19 was the launch of 20 2-hoo missiles and conducted about sixty torpedo firings. But who has the right to commensurate achievements listed with the lost of human lives and the grief of their loved ones?

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